Edan Landing restoration project to create vital habitat for endangered wildlife;October 3, 2008 -- HAYWARD – Years of planning and construction to reconnect a link between former salt ponds at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) and San Francisco Bay will culminate Oct. 8. The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), along with the Wildlife Conservation Board, the East Bay Regional Park District, Save The Bay and other state and local agencies, will implement the final levee breach along Mt. Eden Creek and allow millions of gallons of Bay water to rush into more than 300 acres of former salt ponds.
Project will also provide public recreational access in Hayward
Allowing tidal action to return to this portion of ELER will restore vegetated tidal marsh in the coming decades and re-establish miles of historic slough channels that will provide vital habitat for fish, wildlife and endangered species like the California clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse. Restoring Bay wetlands also contributes to the overall productivity of the Bay and its fishery and improves water quality.
The linking of this former salt pond to the Bay sets the stage for the completion of a segment of the Bay Trail through the ELER. The East Bay Regional Park District contributed funding and staff time to design and oversee the construction of this important San Francisco Bay restoration project. Along with the restoration of tidal action to the site, a new spine segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail will be opened which will provide connectivity from the Hayward area to the north via Hayward Regional Shoreline to points south in Union City.
The trail, which will be completed by the end of Oct. 2008, will open up wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities to residents who have been walled off from the shoreline for more than a century because the land had been in private ownership.
Save The Bay, with support from the NOAA Restoration Center, and DFG have been working with hundreds of volunteers since September 2005 to remove more than 10,000 pounds of debris from this site and collect native plant seeds for a re-vegetation project underway. This year, volunteers will have participated in two dozen restoration projects and planted native plants along a transitional section of shoreline. For information on volunteering, please visit Save The Bay’s Web site at www.saveSFbay.org.
Additional plans for habitat restoration, flood protection and public access at ELER are being developed as part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project (www.southbayrestoration.org).
Background on Eden Landing
In 1996, DFG, working with the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB), East Bay Regional Park District, California Wildlife Foundation, the cities of San Jose, Milpitas and Fremont, and Caltrans, acquired the Baumberg Tract from Cargill Salt Company at the ELER and began efforts to restore more than 830 acres of former salt ponds to vital habitat. In 2003, DFG acquired an additional 5,500 acres of former salt ponds for ELER as part of the 15,100-acre South Bay Salt Pond acquisition that was accomplished with $72 million from WCB, $8 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and $20 million from four private foundations.
Restoration in Progress
Today, DFG is actively managing the 6,300 acres of former salt ponds at ELER and moving forward on its restoration to create a mix of tidal marsh and managed pond habitat. Restoring tidal action to thousands of acres of diked salt ponds throughout the South Bay is essential to bringing back the natural wetland habitat. In April 2004, DFG successfully created an extension of North Creek from the Old Alameda Creek channel. In 2006, North Creek was connected to restore more than 300 acres to tidal action and re-establish several miles of sloughs. The current project will complete the connection of Mt. Eden Creek and restore about 300 acres to tidal action and re-establish several miles of sloughs. Future restoration plans are underway to link more ponds to tidal action and the Bay as part of the 15,100-acre South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.